Clemson wraps up fifth consecutive ACC title, another CFP berth by trouncing Virginia, 62-17

Yahoo Sports

Another year, another ACC title for Clemson. 

With a 62-17 victory over Virginia, No. 3 Clemson became the first school in ACC history to win the conference title in five consecutive seasons. And like it has been the previous two seasons, this game wasn’t all that competitive. 

Virginia moved the ball well on its first two possessions, but ultimately just did not have enough to keep up with the mighty Tigers. Clemson’s lead was just 14-7 after one quarter, but that ballooned to 31-7 by halftime. Clemson would add two more touchdowns in the third quarter as it cruised to another ACC crown, and, more importantly, another College Football Playoff berth. 

Now 13-0 on the season, Clemson has won a whopping 28 consecutive games as it waits for its College Football Playoff semifinal matchup. 

Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) runs for a touchdown while Virginia cornerback Nick Grant (1) misses the tackle duriung the first half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) runs for a touchdown while Virginia cornerback Nick Grant (1) misses the tackle duriung the first half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Clemson’s talent on display

Dabo Swinney has clamored in recent weeks about a perceived disrespect levied upon his program as the season has progressed. The Tigers have been walloping all of their opponents, but have been holding steady behind the likes of LSU and Ohio State in the College Football Playoff rankings. 

Swinney has said that this team is even better than the one that won the national championship a year ago. That talent was on display Saturday night with sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence completing 16-of-22 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns, running back Travis Etienne going for 114 yards on just 14 carries and Tee Higgins hauling in nine passes for 183 yards and three touchdowns of his own. 

With one of the country’s most underrated quarterbacks in Bryce Perkins, Virginia was able to move the ball pretty well at times. But Clemson still baited him into two interceptions and limited him to just 58 rushing yards on 17 carries. Perkins had topped the 100-yard mark on the ground in three of his previous four games, including 164 yards and two scores in the ACC Coastal-clinching win over Virginia Tech. 

Ohio State or LSU?

While Clemson is seemingly locked in as the No. 3 seed, it remains to be seen who it will play in the CFP semifinals. Ohio State entered championship weekend as the No. 1 seed, but fell behind 21-7 to No. 8 Wisconsin at halftime before embarking on a second-half comeback.

Meanwhile, No. 2 LSU trounced No. 4 Georgia, 37-10, behind another monster performance from likely Heisman winner Joe Burrow. Rob Mullens, the chair of the CFP selection committee, has often cited Ohio State as a more “complete” team — on offense and defense — when explaining why the Buckeyes have been slotted ahead of the Tigers. LSU’s defense has struggled at times this year, but has allowed a total of 17 points in the last two weeks. 

Will that be enough to get LSU up to No. 1? If so, it will likely set up an Ohio State vs. Clemson semifinal. It should be a good one. 

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